If you win it, he will come

Published 9:00pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Local Orioles fan challenges star

Seven-year-old Parker Duke of Suffolk is a Baltimore Orioles fan that has a real shot at meeting one of his favorite players — Orioles star centerfielder Adam Jones.

But the meeting could occur in the most unlikely of scenarios; the two may soon be facing off in a doughnut-eating contest.

Seven-year-old Parker Duke of Suffolk is a Baltimore Orioles fan with a shot at meeting the team's star centerfielder Adam Jones. He submitted a video challenging Jones to a doughnut-eating contest in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's Adam Jones Fan Challenge. If his video receives the most votes, the two will face off.
Seven-year-old Parker Duke of Suffolk is a Baltimore Orioles fan with a shot at meeting the team’s star centerfielder Adam Jones. He submitted a video challenging Jones to a doughnut-eating contest in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s Adam Jones Fan Challenge. If his video receives the most votes, the two will face off.

The story began when Parker, who faithfully watches Orioles games, noticed an advertisement for the Adam Jones Fan Challenge put on by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

The contest requires participants to upload a video of themselves challenging Jones to a contest in anything that they think they can beat him at. Parker’s parents, Eley Duke and Nicole Harrell, were quick to help.

First, Parker needed to select a challenge.

“My mommy started picking them, and then when she said ‘doughnut-eating contest,’ I said, ‘Wait. What did you just say?’” he said.

And so the selection was made and a video was produced.

“We, one morning, bought two dozen doughnuts, stacked them all up, and Parker did that video on the first take,” Eley Duke said.

In the video, which can be viewed and voted for at http://woobox.com/s7ekgi, Parker announces, “Hi, Adam Jones. I’m one of your biggest fans. This is Parker Duke from Suffolk, Virginia. I challenge you to a doughnut-eating contest, and if I eat the most doughnuts, I want to be one of your guests at a baseball game.”

The video was one of about 50 submitted. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network social media director Lindsay Rykiel explained the next step.

“Once the submission period ended, Adam had a chance to review all of the videos and then he picked his top three,” she said.

Parker’s video made the cut and is now listed on the MASN Orioles Facebook page, available for voters to select their favorite. The participant whose video has the most votes by June 30 will get his showdown with Jones.

This is the second year that the star Orioles player has been involved in this fan challenge.

“These contests are just kind of to show the players in a different light,” Rykiel said.

Last year, Jones competed against the contest winner in a cake decorating contest.

Winners will get to spend about an hour with Jones during the course of the filmed contest and will receive autographed memorabilia, as well.

Parker explained how his love for the Orioles came to be.

“My daddy started it,” he said. “My daddy liked the Baltimore Orioles, and then the first time he turned it on, I started to like them.”

Parker was referring to his birth father, Alan Duke, who lit the spark that Eley Duke and Harrell have helped fan into a flame. When Parker was 6 ½, they took him to his very first Orioles game.

“I don’t think that he’s missed a game yet on TV this year,” Eley Duke said.

Digital video recorders come to the rescue when Parker’s bedtime interferes with seeing the complete game.

“The first question Parker asks every single morning, ‘What was the score of the O’s game?’” Eley Duke said.

If Duke and Harrell do not know the answer, Parker grabs one of their iPhones and asks Siri.

Explaining his affinity for Jones, Parker said, “He hit a lot of home runs last year.”

Parker has been adding doughnuts to his diet in preparation for the possible battle.

He participates in soccer, lacrosse, swimming and surfing, but he has plans to add baseball to that list soon.

And he might even be able to ask a professional baseball player for tips over a mountain of doughnuts.

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